Monday, January 20, 2020

SpiceJet ends expat pilot’s contract while on leave

Low cost airline SpiceJet has terminated the contract of a 57-year-old expat Boeing 737 pilot, in the middle of his 21-day leave, and has told him that he need not report back for flying duties.
 The pilot said he was later told that the airline was letting go of a number of pilots owing to the crisis stemming from the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX in March last year.
 The pilot, with more than 37 years of flying experience, expressed shock at the manner in which his contract was terminated. “I completed a training schedule with the airline and went on home leave till January 26 to spend time with my wife and daughter. I get an email informing me that I have already been fired without even a notice!” the pilot told Mirror.
 An email from a senior operations executive read: “This mail is in regards to your employment contract which is valid till Jan 27, 2020. As decided by the management your contract will not be further renewed. Currently you are on your leave rotation till 26-Jan-20 , so you are requested not to report back for flying duties.”
 The pilot, who has worked with international airlines in the US, China, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, said his valuables and personal belongings have also been taken out of the room at the hotel he was living in at Chennai “because SpiceJet stopped paying for my housing”. “I had left behind my watches, personal documents, my computer-—stuff which I didn’t need when I was going to relax with my family,” he said.
 He said another senior operations executive from SpiceJet later called him up and apologised for the rude manner in which the contract was terminated. “The person told me that they were happy with my work but due to financial crisis involving 737 Max, they had to let go of a number of pilots. At least two other 737 pilots also got these emails. I will return to India as scheduled on January 26 and I will go to the SpiceJet headquarters the next day,” he said.
 SpiceJet denied that the termination was arbitrary. “To say that the said pilot was fired without being given notice is absolutely wrong, baseless, illegal and an attempt to twist facts. As clearly stated in the letter, the contract of the said pilot was getting over on January 27, and the company decided not to renew the contract. A contract between an employee and a company clearly lays down the period of service. In this employee’s case, it was no different. The pilot was employed for his full contract period. So the question of him being fired without being given notice does not arise,” said a spokesperson.
The airline also denied that it was cutting down on pilots.
 SpiceJet had to ground 13 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in March 2019 after they were grounded globally following two major air accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
20/01/20 Satish Nandagaonkar/Mumbai Mirror
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